Arson suspect, 83: 'Send me to jail, I don't give a s---'

A HOMELESS man who has been charged over the fire which destroyed the Australian Hotel at Ballina, says his case is being heard in a "kangaroo court" and has asked to represent himself.

Reginald Mario Carter, 83, has again been refused bail over the fire, which caused $1 million of damage to the iconic pub on May 27.

He is charged with maliciously damaging a property by fire causing more than $15,000 damage and appeared in Ballina Local Court yesterday dressed in prison greens with toilet paper wrapped around his neck.

He was represented by Legal Aid solicitor Mr Roberts, who said his client was not in a position to apply for bail.

Magistrate R Denes questioned why Carter wasn't free on bail, which she granted on May 30.

"Why are you not at the hotel I sent you to?" she asked.

Mr Roberts told her the hotel "didn't want him there".

"In Ballina he has a reputation now and it's hard for him to get a room anywhere," he said.

When Mr Carter told the court he was pleading not guilty to the charge, Ms Denes ordered the police brief of evidence to be prepared by July 7 and adjourned his matters until July 21.

Carter realised he wouldn't be released on bail, and spoke from the dock.

"You haven't found an address for me yet?" he asked Mr Roberts.

"I gave you all the information this morning.

"That's why I wanted a proper representative.

"I can name heaps of places I can get bailed to.

"This is a kangaroo court.

"Your honour, can I represent myself? I'd like to do that.

"It's only one o'clock in the afternoon and he can't find me accommodation by 5pm.

"Now you may was well send me to jail and keep me there forever, I don't give a sh*t."

As he was led back to police custody Ms Denes said she would adjourn Carter's matters until next Thursday, June 16, so he could again try to apply for bail.

"I've never struck anything like this, not even in the States, for God's sake," Carter said.



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